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Initiatives and Priorities of Attorney General King

‘Good Government’ has always been a Gary King priority and focus since his days as a New Mexico State Representative. That dedication to ensuring that state government benefits all New Mexicans continues in his capacity as Attorney General. As an example, his creation of the Government Accountability Division has made great strides in fighting government corruption, evidenced by a continually growing list of state officials and other government employees who were forced to pay for their crimes. Others are in various stages of litigation or have not yet been charged. AG King believes that the vigorous enforcement of laws intended to ensure transparency, clean government, and accountability of all public employees is good for everyone.

Recent amendments to the Governmental Conduct Act now provide a uniform body of ethics laws that apply to all public bodies, officials, and employees in New Mexico. Another of the Attorney General's initiatives is a newly developed training program where AGO staffers travel the state to explain the Act to state and local government agency employees who are now subject to the stronger Governmental Conduct Act provisions. The training is designed to educate state, county, and municipal officers and employees about their new responsibilities under the law. An AGO-produced publication explains in detail the provisions of the amended Act and is available on the AG’s website.

On the criminal law side, the Attorney General continues to support increased numbers of investigations and prosecutions pertaining to crimes involving money laundering, human trafficking, and drug smuggling.

After succeeding in creating the offense of human trafficking in New Mexico, AG King has turned his focus and efforts to training police and prosecutors across the state about the law. Prior to its passage in 2008, New Mexico was the only southern border state that did not have a human trafficking law.

The numbers of prosecutions and convictions for human trafficking have been steadily rising for the AG’s office and other state jurisdictions.  

AG King has also been successful in working to strengthen laws to combat child predators on the Internet and has bolstered enforcement capabilities through his Internet Crimes Against Children unit, which is part of a larger statewide ICAC Task Force. Investigations and prosecutions against child predators continue to increase across New Mexico.

In May 2007 the AG appointed the Family Violence Protection Act Task Force. The AG continues to focus on the mission of the task force, which is to allow for constructive discourse regarding necessary or pressing amendments to the Family Violence Protection Act in order to draft legislation for consideration by lawmakers.

In an offshoot of his concern for protecting New Mexico families, AG King created a program to address Teen Dating Violence through training and publications targeted to young men and women.

Another relatively recent initiative is the Attorney General’s participation in the Prescription Drug Disposal task force. The AGO is working closely with law enforcement to set up take-back programs throughout New Mexico to help youth, parents, and the elderly understand safe ways to dispose of unused and unwanted medications. This task force developed an informative guide on how to host take-back programs for law enforcement across the state.

One of AG King’s biggest priorities is consumer protection, from day to day marketplace transactions to sweeping multi-state legal actions, the Office is deeply involved in protecting the financial well being of New Mexicans.

The National Mortgage Settlement is an example of the Attorney General’s “dog-with-a-bone” tenacity in helping to resolve foreclosure-related abuses and fraudulent practices perpetrated against homeowners in NM. From recovering millions to benefit consumers through dispute resolution to suing yogurt makers for false health claims to suing manufacturers of fake Native American-made jewelry, AG King’s effort to advocate for consumers is always in high gear.

The Attorney General created the Immigrant Consumer Services unit within the Consumer Protection Division in order to extend protections already in place to New Mexico’s immigrant community.

Attorney General King continues to actively address the problem of methamphetamine abuse. With the establishment of the anti-meth Train the Trainer program, the AG’s office has taken methamphetamine awareness and action training to communities all over New Mexico.

Recognizing the growing number of cases involving abuse of elderly citizens in New Mexico, AG King added an “Elder Abuse” focus to the Medicaid Fraud Division of the Attorney General’s Office. Senior citizens and their families
can expect cases of elder abuse to be vigorously prosecuted by this unit.